Water and birds

Water is of vital importance to the survival of California’s birds and the habitats that support them.

Snow Geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Scott Flaherty/USFWS

California in 2016 entered its fifth straight year of drought, and the ramifications for birds and people are considerable.

Water, of course, is fundamental to our lives, our communities, and our economy. Public policy around water allocations and usage is serious business. Water is also of vital importance to the survival of California’s birds and the habitats that support them. That’s why Audubon California has been at the forefront: advocating for birds during important policy discussions around the recent water bond, drought response, and water allocations to critical wildlife refuges.

The National Audubon Society new strategic plan creates an initiative around water that takes into account its growing importance in our organization’s ongoing efforts to safeguard birds. Nowhere is that focus more apparent than in California, where water is at the center of several important initiatives.

Below you will find links to the important work that Audubon California is doing around water and birds.

Drought and birds
Seas & Shores

Drought and birds

With the California drought entering its fifth straight year in 2016, the impacts to birds are already being seen and felt.

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Fighting for Central Valley birds
Seas & Shores

Fighting for Central Valley birds

Audubon California continues to advocate for adequate water supplies for Central Valley refuges.

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Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Securing a home for birds at the Salton Sea

Audubon California is helping secure the future of one of the state's key bird habitats.

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New opportunities for birds at Owens Lake
Important Bird Areas

New opportunities for birds at Owens Lake

Audubon California is working with Eastern Sierra Audubon to take advantage of a unique opportunity to support migratory birds at Owens Lake.

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San Joaquin River restoration
Important Bird Areas

San Joaquin River restoration

The San Joaquin River is one of the most threatened rivers in North American, and we need to bring it back to its former glory.

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Latest news

No, the Central Valley refuges aren't getting 100% of their federal water allocations. Not remotely.
Audublog

It's always a drought for birds

No, the Central Valley wildlife refuges aren't getting 100% of their federal water allocation. Not remotely.

Gleick: Congress is about makes California's water woes even worse

The Pacific Institute's Peter Gleick pens a harsh opinion in the Los Angeles Times today about Congressional efforts to address California's drought:

"The federal government has a vital role to play in helping states address water problems: improving management of federal infrastructure, funding research of new technologies, setting standards for water-quality and appliance efficiency, as well as protecting the environment and marginalized communities. And yet none of those issues is the thrust of the two water bills now moving through the House and Senate. Instead, a California-centric bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein anda Western water bill sponsored by Rep. David Valadao both contain egregious, anti-environmental giveaways hidden behind modest provisions for modernizing California's water system."

It's worth a read.

Audubon California at the Owens Lake Birding Festival. Our own Marcos Trinidad and Andrea Jones were all smiles today at the Owens Lake Birding Festival. Many great birds were seen.

My First Drought
Audublog

My First Drought

Kate C. Brice of Altacal Audubon Society graciously shares her experience participating in Audubon's Drought Monitoring Project

San Joaquin River declared America's second most endangered

The San Joaquin River flowing just outside of Fresno. Photo: Garrison Frost

American Rivers this week declared California's San Joaquin River the second most endangered river in the United States“Dams, levees and excessive water diversions have hurt river habitat and opportunities for recreation and community access,” the report says. “The river’s salmon and steelhead populations are on the brink of extinction.” Audubon California has advocated for the restoration of the San Joaquin River for some time -- more about that on our website.

Exceptional and extreme drought persists in California

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, California continues to experience drought. The consorsium of government agencies says that only a small part of the state -- 3.55 percent in the far northwest -- is not in drought. But 96 percent remains abnormally dry, with 90 percent in moderate, 74 percent in severe, 55 percent in extreme and 31 percent in exceptional drought.

Klamath deal will bring down dams and help fish, but refuges and waterfowl remain high and dry
Press Center

Klamath deal will bring down dams and help fish, but refuges and waterfowl remain high and dry

— The Klamath Basin wildlife refuges, which sustain 80% of ducks and geese that use the Pacific Flyway, still need help.
Water is vital to the survival of California birds
Audublog

Water is vital to the survival of California birds

On World Water Day, we recognize that water is fundamental to our lives, our communities, and our economy -- but it is also the key to safeguarding our birds.

Witness to the drought
Audublog

Witness to the drought

Twice a month, Ralph Baker and John Harris from Stanislaus Audubon Society spend a day inspecting habitat and counting birds at the Grasslands Wildlife Management Area in Los Banos, one of fourteen refuges named as essential habitat under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

Western Rivers Action Network
Water

Western Rivers Action Network

Protecting the Colorado River basin.

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